Our History

The AVCS History

The Almaden Valley Youth Counseling Service (AVYCS) was founded in 1980 based on a community concern that adequate counseling services were not available for youth of the community. This was in large part due to the withdrawal of school counselors on school campuses due to Proposition 13 but the final impetus was two tragic teen suicides.

AVYCS opened its doors in the basement of Joint Ventures Church with a part-time director/counselor, moving to its current office location on Crown Boulevard in 1985. In 1999, AVYCS changed its name to Almaden Valley Counseling Service (AVCS). To date, nine directors have followed serving youth, adults, families and couples by providing counseling and support for high risk kids and teens, strengthening families, parenting classes, couples in crisis, on-site school based therapy (in over 40 schools), older adults with loss, and other mental health needs.

Many AVCS counselors have a Master’s Degree in Counseling or Clinical Psychology and are pursuing their hours towards licensure as Marriage and Family Therapist through the AVCS associateship training program. Other AVCS counselors are trainees who are providing services with us in order to complete their Master’s Degree in Counseling or Clinical Psychology. The supervised clinical experience that both types of counselors need to complete the state mandated licensor requirements is provided by AVCS. Recently rental space has been opened up to licensed therapists for their individual practices at the AVCS offices.

In the earlier years much fundraising was done by the Auxiliary along with grants received from Almaden Valley Women’s Club, IBM, Santa Clara County Dept. of Social Services, Xilinx, El Camino Health, Kaiser Permanente, Sharks Foundation, and Cisco to support AVCS and its growth in providing mental health service to the community. The Auxiliary’s fundraising played a big part in earlier years not only to provide operating funds for the agency but to bring the community together through the Snow Ball fashion show luncheon, dinner and tea, the Almaden Times Classic 5k and 10k run, Home for he Holidays home tour, and Santa’s Breakfast. Today most funding is provided through school counseling contracts, client fees, grants from corporations, foundations and other organizations, and individual donations as AVCS serves hundreds of students, individuals, family and couples throughout Santa Clara County.

Our original mission was to provide counseling services, free of charge, to residents of Almaden Valley. Currently, there are no geographical boundaries and a sliding fee scale ($35-$95) was developed with our mission to provide affordable services to ALL ages ~ to support and promote personal growth, positive family relationship and emotional well-being.

“If you have not heard of Almaden Valley Counseling Service please look them up. They have been quietly helping youth and families with mental health and social issues for 35 years. This great nonprofit spends their dollars wisely and helps over 1800 youth and families annually. It was my honor to recognize their work today.”
–Johnny Khamis, San Jose City Councilmember (2015)

Year Overview Budget Board Chair

Responded quickly to COVID-19 pandemic by connecting with clients, schools and students to continue counseling through telehealth sessions
Katy Carter retires from AVCS and Kathy Diangson, LMFT becomes interim executive director with new director Michelle Humke, CSJ, LMFT hired in August

Caryn Fabian

Provided over 650 hours/week of counseling in 40 schools and 250 hours of parenting support to families
Served more than 3,000 clients in the clinic and Counseling on Campus (COC) Program


Served 45 schools in 7 districts
Staff of 40 associate therapist, 10 supervisors and 6 office support
Provided school support and training in dealing with cyber-bullying, sexting and depression


Over 30,000 counseling hours provided by more than 42 interns and 12 supervisors
540 hours/week for COC Program and 125 hours/week for clinic counseling
Top services addressed high-risk kids and teens, and strengthening families


Over 40 schools contracted for COC


Received commendation from San Jose City Council for 35 years of community service
Workshops for high schools given on suicidality
Served close to 2000 clients in COC Program and Clinic


Agency switches to electronic health records platform
Treatment rooms refurbished reflecting AVCS’ commitment to growth
1,098 clients served in COC Program and Clinic


564 COC students served

$438,000 Jayne Kwon

Dept. of Social Services, SCC grant received

$417,750 Christian Nielsen

More schools added to COC Program


Broomstick Ball is held with AVCS as a grant recipient

$340,988 Brendan Coveney

Received first COC school district contract from SJUSD
376 Clinic clients receive 4084 sessions hours, 326 COC students served


521 Clinic clients and 426 COC students served
Rocki Kramer retires and Katy Carter becomes new executive director

$305,657 Robin Root

At this time, AVCS has served over 10,000 clients with 146 interns working in our programs
499 Clinic and COC clients served
Clinic clients receive 4,114 session hours

$367,062 Jerri Kazmierczak

178 Clinic clients and 381 COC students served

$321,011 Adron Beeney
2005 Sliding scale fees are now $20 – $75/hour
21 schools in COC Program with 682 students seen for a total of 3,433 sessions
Staff includes 25 interns, 10 supervisors, 8 licensed therapists

$316,540 Steve Kitrosser

876 clients receive 7500 hours of clinical service
330 COC students seen for a total of 2,298 visits
Staff of 24 interns, 10 supervisors
Counseling also offered in Mandarin, Cantonese, Spanish, Vietnamese and French

Gwen Hacker

Participated in Westfield Tile Project
554 clients receive 3731 hours of clinical service
37% of clients pay lowest fee

$234,579 Elena Agostino

Home for the Holidays home tour event is held
Brownstone Foundation underwrites Santa’s Breakfast
Staff of 21 interns, 11 supervisors, 9 licensed therapists


Geriatric Advisory program (GAP) developed by Cathleen Starr
Staff of 19 interns, 8 supervisors, 9 licensed therapists

$202,708 Matt Giampaoli

20th Anniversary Celebration
12 Schools in COC program
32% of Clients pay lowest fee of $15

$195,495 Marjorie Rasmussen

Name changes to Almaden Valley Counseling Service (AVCS)
522 clients receive 2843 hours of clinical service
482 students seen in COC program
Staff of 16 interns, 7 supervisors, 8 licensed therapists
3 new offices added

$185,734 John Redding

Website developed
Forum held on Alcohol Awareness
12 schools in COC Program


Snow Ball is now biannual event
Offices are remodeled and updated
Interns who become licensed continue their practice at AVYCS

$168,000 Marc Buller

Community forum is Hanging Out and No Place to Go, Teen Loitering
Graystone, Terrell, Randol and Williams Elementary Schools join the COC Program


Community forum is a Parent/Youth Seminar
Simonds Elementary is added to COC Program

$154,000 Donna Dawson

Community forum on Teenage Parties
A sponsor of the Almaden Times Classic 10K/2Mile Run-Walk
539 clients receive 3,121 hours of clinical service
510 students seen in COC Program

Lisa Chaney

Community forums on Gang Awareness and Teen Violence
Minimum fee increased to $10 per session
10th Snow Ball event is held
Staff grows to 18 interns, 4 supervisors and 4 part-time office support

David Byers

Expansion of offices to include a family therapy room and a children’s art/sand tray therapy room
Seven schools in COC Program
443 students seen for a total of 1,263 visits
470 clients receive 2,548 hours of clinical service

Jackie Whitlock

407 COC students servedSmokeless Saturday School, smoking cessation classes start
Willow Glen Education Park joins the COC Program
Staff includes 12 intern clinicians

Barbara Anderson

10th Anniversary Celebration
First Home for the Holidays home tour is held
Maximum fee for service is $50 per session

$122,600 Sheryl Stroh

296 students seen through the COC Program
445 clients receive clinic service
Rocki Kramer becomes the executive director

Linda Neilsson

Grant from IBM purchases a computer for the office staff
Fee structure changes to sliding scale from $10-$40/session

Pam Darin

Castillero, Steinbeck and John Muir Middle Schools join COC Program
Parent education classes are instituted

Sally Tillmans

Gunderson High School joins the COC Program

Art Darin

Facility moves office to Crown Boulevard
Peer Facilitator Program begins at Leland High School
Services extended to outside 95120 zip code

$50,000 Rich Crowley

AVYCS is officially incorporated
Counselor on Campus (COC) Program begins at Leland and Pioneer High Schools
Auxiliary is formed and first Snow Ball fundraiser event is held

Dee Eberle

Staff has grown to 4 interns and consultant supervisor
Fees increased to $10/session

Sandy Engel

501(c)3 non-profit status is granted and first intern clinician begins
A fee of $5 per session is instituted

Guy Miller

Funding received from the Almaden Valley Women’s Club
A one-room office is rented

Pat Dando

AVYCS is formed under the direction of Bob Martin and members of Joint Venture Churches
Mission is to offer counseling services, free of charge for residents of 95120
Temporary director is Don Smith

$6,689 Bob Martin